With the worldwide demand for electricity rapidly increasing, more and more people are interested in getting their hands on solar power. One of the major barriers to entry for those seeking to invest in solar energy is the capacity to store the abundant energy generated by the sun. Having the ability to store energy is essential for those desiring to use solar power to its fullest, as being able to generate energy on demand is far more convenient (and often more economical) than having to store it for later use.
The question is, how much solar energy can you store? While it is generally acknowledged that the ability to store solar energy is highly advantageous, simply knowing the theoretical capacity of a solar cell is perhaps not the most practical information needed when deciding to invest in this technology. After all, the amount of energy that your battery can store will depend on a number of factors, not least of which is the size of your battery. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of the most important considerations that you need to make before investing in a solar energy system.
The first and most basic thing to consider is the size of your system. Depending on where you live and how much sun you receive, choosing the right solar system can be a daunting task. We’ll leave it to you to decide whether you want a small, simple system that you can install yourself or a large, complicated system that requires a team of experts to install. Either way, the importance of correctly sizing your system cannot be overstated. An undersized system will not be able to generate enough electricity to power your home and will also be highly inefficient. Hence, the importance of doing your research and choosing a reputable company.
Once you’ve decided on the size of your system, the next step is to choose the right voltage for your battery. The most common voltages found on commercial batteries are 12V and 24V, with 24V batteries being the more popular choice due to their enhanced ability to store energy. Since we’re dealing with electricity here, it’s essential to choose a battery with the correct chemistry as well. For many years now, lithium polymer batteries have been the gold standard amongst storage batteries due to their high energy density and excellent charge retention. If you’d like to learn more, we recommend that you visit this site, which contains a wealth of information on battery technology and chemistry.
The next crucial decision you need to make is that of the voltage at which you want to generate electricity. This will depend on a number of factors, not least of which is your specific electrical needs. If you’re creating electricity to power electronics, such as household appliances or lighting, then you can generate electricity at a lower voltage (typically around 12V) and save yourself some cost in the process. On the other hand, if you’re charging a 12V vehicle then you’ll need to generate 24V to be able to accommodate the charge requirements of your car or van. This will also have an effect on the quality of your electricity as high voltage generators are markedly more efficient than low voltage ones.
Another crucial decision that you need to make is how long you want your battery to retain its charge. For many years, NiMH batteries were the standard amongst rechargeable batteries due to their long life and high power output. However, with the advancement of technology, particularly the rise of new materials in the fabrication of lithium batteries, this year’s crop of rechargeable batteries really do appear to have something for everyone. The next step is to determine how long you can realistically afford to leave your battery unused before it deteriorates beyond repair. This is where the capacity of your battery comes in extremely useful. The greater the capacity, the more energy you can store (and therefore generate) before you need to recharge. If your battery’s capacity is low, you may find that you need to recharge more frequently, simply because you use more energy in the first place.
The last and most important decision you need to make before investing in a solar energy system is the wattage of the panels that you’ve chosen. Watts are a unit of measurement for the amount of electrical power generated by a device or system. For optimum efficiency, choose solar panels that are between 3 to 5 watts. The higher the wattage, the more electricity you’ll be able to generate.
As we’ve established, having the ability to store electricity is essential for those seeking to use solar power in its entirety. There’s no point generating enough electricity to power your home if you can’t store it. Ideally, you want your solar battery to be big enough to power all the devices that you connect to it (i.e. your electronic devices, household appliances, etc.). In cases where you’re planning on charging electronics on the go (e.g. mobile phones, tablets, etc.), you’ll want your battery to be as small as possible to save you as much weight as possible. However, in cases where you want to be able to power your home, the better the capacity of your battery, the higher the probability of you generating enough electricity to power all your devices. Of course, you can always connect a smaller battery to a number of devices to achieve the same goal.
In cases where you’re looking for a new way to generate electricity (for example, if you’re living in a region that experiences a lot of sun but doesn’t have access to any traditional power sources), then investing in a solar energy system is well worth it. Not only will you be able to power your home but you’ll also have the option to sell the electricity that you generate to utilities, which may offer you a better deal than you’d get from your power company. Not too many things in life are as satisfying as powering your home with solar energy.